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Thoughts on Selenica

by Eric Folland

Ah, yes, Selenica. You've touched on my favourite city in Darokin, Brun, and all Mystara for that matter. Why do you ask? Potential.

I am running a name-level campaign in which the characters are to take over the Known World (minus Thyatis and the Savage Coast). The characters certainly don't know this, as well as how much Selenica means to their plans. I've found that most of the basic Mystara modules were based in Karameikos.

As a result, I feel more comfortable with how beginning players can advance from that domain. I'm not experienced enough in the land of Glantri to visualise a beginning to end lifetime campaign there. I do, however, own that GAZ and love it!

The party, put simply, ascended to power in Traldar through leading civil war in Karameikos. Their native Traldaran heritage aided in the skipping of their expected baronial right after they led a large force to vanquish the Baron at Fort Doom once and for all. Bargle the Infamous escaped. Once his cousin was vanquished, Duke Stephan began the process of solidifying his move towards kingship. The Thyatian bloodlines in Traldar escalated in their exploitation of the majority Traldarans. Tensions rose while the player character's promised barony was appointed to a Thyatian. The Five Shires could not control their own large pirate populace as they wreaked havoc in West Karameikos. In Karameikos, the minor revolts were viciously and abusingly quashed by the Thyatian nobles. The obvious internal problem was ignored by Duke Stephan while visiting Thyatis ensuring that empire's border to the west was quite stable, and at the same time, working out important trade promises before he declares himself king back home. Civil War erupts...... bare with me Gordon, I'm actually skipping a lot of stuff.... The Karameikan cities close down, protecting what they believe is their loyal populace, but retaining their mostly royal armies. Penhaligon is the first to fall. All villages and minor towns support the revolution. Led by the player characters, the high resolve rebels take Specularum, including a dramatic personal swordfight with the party's best fighter and the Duke.

The Civil War wasn't over yet. All remaining keep forces and loyal armies(paid with gold reserves) converged on Kelvin to help Desmond defend his central city named, of course, Kelvin. That is where the final battle took place, on the scale of The White Tower in the Tolkien series. Desmond has longed for the opportunity to gain control of Karameikos through marriage into the royal family, but now that the point is moot, wanted to insure his dominance would remain after the Civil War died down. The Five Shires' pirate and military factions moved its border well past Luln, stealing everything for its own hordes. Pirates at sea could not be found since the best and easiest neighbour to rob was by way of land. The Shires' torn and the Clans divided, the Shires can do little to restrain the half of its country bent on thievery for risk of their own Civil War. The Land of Traldar, under one banner after the fall of Kelvin, unite their forces and rout the halfling forces all the way to Shireton. Even the families that were against the piratical invasion of Karameikos attempted to defend their homeland, to no avail. After the Five Shires fell, the Clan Leaders sued for peace. The new kingdom of, aptly named, Traldar agreed to keep a military force in the Shires while naming it the Hin Protectorate of Traldar. All appropriate taxes went to Traldar for rebuilding and civilian reparations. The ten years that followed, the kingdom(led by the player characters) of Traldar and the Hin Protectorate actually formed a good working relationship. The bloodlust died as fast as it escalated, and Traldar would often give the hin many benefits and trade profits to keep the hin quite comfortable(as long as they continued to manufacture trade goods to the benefit of Traldar). The capital of Traldar was placed in Lavv, the liberated name for Kelvin, while the hub of sea commerce and navy forces remained in Specularum(remaining so for commercial purposes as well as preventing to liberate it in the name of Marilenev). A unified and invigorated Traldar boomed, with Lavv swelling to a rough estimate of 90,000.

Thyatis, first distracted and now crippled after WotI, pressured Traldar to allow their border to extend all the way to the Rugalov River up to Lake of Lost Dreams. If not, Thyatis threatened to stabilise the area and reclaim as a true Duchy of the Empire. Traldar agreed, with the assurance of Thyatis that once all that land was given to the Empire, the border would be honoured. Both agreed as well as thought they had the better part of the treaty. Traldar thought they saved their kingdom as well as respect. Thyatis secured the land to the river, truly thinking this would be a more stable border to the dangerous and excitable nation of Traldar. They were in no position to defend the homeland after the massive war. Thyatis also secured an important benefit with the treaty. The reputation of Thyatis alone postured them to do well in this deal, for they were in no position to back up their threats of force. The advantage Thyatis truly sought was to secure and protect the alliance with the Vyalia elves east of Rugalov River. They alone produce the divisions of Forresters, a resource that was too dangerous to potentially share with Traldar. Along the River, an incredible neutral zone was in the making. Forts were built to oppose one another. Towns and villages raced to outpace each other in growth and opportunity from the ocean all the way north to the Lake of Lost Dreams. Materials and fine goods to cultivate these areas as well as attract people were all coming out of the trade hub of Selenica....

Ah, Eric, you finally get to Selenica....

The greedy trade houses raised tariffs on goods to astronomical levels. Traldar sanctions and military threats proved unsuccessful. Can you guess what happens next? Darokin was weakened by the Master of Hule, which occurred during the Traldar Civil War(which they influenced Fort Doom and Thyatian nobility{Kelvin}), weakened by the Wrath of the Immortals, and now has trade hampered by Shadow Elves. All roads lead to Selenica, but circumstance has made it more of an island city than ever. The same circumstance also forces the trade houses to raise tariffs and charges in order to maintain its normal(rich) cash flows. Too bad for them, from the Traldaran perspective.

The invasion of Selenica from Traldar is launched. The rotating armies of Selenica converge to protect the city. The road to the west is cut off from the Traldaran siege. The messenger party from Selenica heading west for help is surprised by a marauding Shadow Elf party. Before the last messenger is slain, he tells the Shadow Elves of the siege currently taking place at Selenica. The messenger, bonded and gagged, is taken to the capital of Aengmor. The queen hears the message, then slays the messenger. She has more important plans her kingdom is preparing for(Aengmor under the Broken Lands) and wants nobody outside her forest to know that the Shadow Elves could have involved themselves. This buys her kingdom more time to prepare for the underground siege of the Holy City of Aengmor.

Selenica falls, Traldar extends its border west and halts. Gordon, take the old west border of Karameikos and picture a line drawn north to the elven forest (old Alfheim). That now serves as the new border of the Traldar kingdom.

The heightened neutral zone with Thyatis raises to alarming intensity.

The Thothian wheat plague hits Thyatis hard. Half of the neutral zone patrols are recalled to help police the capital and neighbouring townships. Thyatis now has a greater threat than aggressive Traldar, the threat from within.

The Traldar military and farming machine is in full swing. To ease tensions with Thyatis, Traldar sends loads of grain through Specularum as well as foodstuffs from the Hin Protectorate. Selenican food surpluses due to the rare Aengmor rains are also delivered through land caravan across the Rugalov River. This will greatly improve the relationship for years to come between Traldar and Thyatis. Helping pacify the internal strife and starvation of the Thyatian people will be on every foot soldier and centurion's mind the next time Thyatis wants to harass Traldar.

Darokin cannot afford troops from its posts to retake Selenica. The Hin Protectorate border must be maintained. The Swamp force needs to keep the lizard-men in check. The Akesoli forces to this day have Sind troops knocking on their front door. The Broken Lands are more volatile than ever with renewed vigour under King Kol and the escalation in the Great Crater. Bands of Shadow Elves are eerily marching across Darokin land toward the northwest, showing that they are anything but a friendly, inclusive nation.

The Emirates of Ylaruam, however, are building their border forces. They have a lot at stake for the lifeblood of food that flows from Selenica. They had many investments in trade and protection, as well as a powerful Ylari guildhouse influence, which have all gone to pot now. Rumours of a Holy War with Traldar are brewing. Would Thyatis like to see Ylaruam fall? Think about it.

Lavv, which was Kelvin, is completing a tremendous palace. During underground excavation from Hillforge dwarves, a massive underground labyrinth is found. The player characters, believing it to be sacred ground, explore the catacombs. They then, indeed, find the tomb of Halav. The sword of Halav is recovered. A pilgrimage soon follows as rumours spread like wildfire in the kingdom of Traldar that their king now possesses the Sword of Halav. Elation permeates as people excitedly prepare for their own Holy War against the sand devils of Ylaruam.